Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cheap, quick, easy

Black Beans and Rice
Serves 4


1 large onion, diced small
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
1 tsp ground coriander seed
1 can crushed or diced tomatoes
1 can black beans (1 1/2 cups cooked)
1 head brocolli, cut into florets
black pepper

2 cups uncooked brown rice
Lime to serve


Put rice onto cook. Meanwhile, fry onion and garlic in a little bit of oil until it starts to soften. Add cumin seeds to pan and cook until they become fragrant (don't burn!). Add the rest of the ingredients and cook until brocolli is tender/bright green.

When rice is cooked mix it altogether and serve with a wedge of lime :)


So good to make this on a work night. Onions and garlic are something I've always got, and there's always some kind of bean in the freezer ready to go. The recipe is easily adaptable too, make it Italian-y by using dried basil and oregano or thyme instead of cumin and coriander. Use whatever vegetable you have in the fridge! This only takes as long as the rice to cook, and if you're the type to have leftover rice in the fridge, even better!

We've been eating way too much white pasta this week so this meal was a nice healthy break for our digestive systems.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

You can't go wrong with pie

I came home from work on Thursday to find that Nadine had baked me a pie.

The Banana Toffee Pudding Pie (otherwise known as Banoffee) from Vegan Pie in the Sky as a matter of fact.

Could anything be more delicious?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

WIP Wednesday!

I have sorta kinda maybe always wanted to do something like this but never bothered. Theresa over at the Tropical Vegan reminded me of it, and this time I actually have some works in progress! I'm hoping posting about them for give me the kick up the butt I need to finish some, and in turn more inspiration to start new ones too.
I am currently making some curtains for our bedroom. Some nice, bright, kind of ugly curtains to brighten up our doomy gloomy bedroom.
Doomy gloomy bedroom.
We went to Spotlight and spent friggin hours trying to find the perfect material. I found lots I liked but Nadine was 'meh' about everything, until we found this (kind of absurdly expensive) 70's retro style print. Burnt orange? Yes please! Will match our tablecloth :)
I am making simple tab curtains, but decided to make it hard for myself by turning them into blackout curtains. We are sooks and can't stand the slightest glint of light. We got the blackout stuff at Spotlight too, though I can't remember what it's actually called. You can get it in single thickness or triple though. We went for single because we are broke cheap.
So far I've made all the tabs for all 3 curtains (7 for each).
Just thought I'd take some crafty photos along the way.

I've also hemmed the top and bottom of one curtain and am currently attempting to join the blackout material to it somehow. I accidentally cut it too short for this one, but I shall remember it for next time!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Lunch: Quinoa Salad and Black Bean Dip

I love quinoa in a salad. And I almost can't wait to go to work tomorrow so I can eat this one!

I found this reicipe: Green Goddess Salad (from Healthy. Happy. Life.) on Pinterest and thought it'd be a perfect portable, filling but light lunch to take to work.

My greens were peas, brocolli and english spinach shredded. I also chucked in a tomato I found in the fridge. I used quinoa instead of cous cous because it's what I had in the cupboard. Next weeks lunches might have to feature whole wheat cous cous! I used a chopped ruby red grapefruit instead of orange (really good idea! I love grapefruit.) The dressing I chose was the tahini option (see recipe) but I skipped the maple syrup because I don't have any at the moment.

Nadine and I shared a small bowl of this when she got home today as an afternoon snack. AKndnnewkjt34$%@.

I'm really liking this whole taking cold salads to work for lunch instead of leftovers thing. I don't have to wait for microwaves, it's always tasty, and it changes up the routine a bit. I also get to try many more dishes too! And all of the salads I've made so far can be made ahead, therefore I can do like 3 days of lunches for us at once and all I have to do is get the container out of the fridge in the morning, no fart arsing around.
I also usually make some sort of bean based dip to take for morning teas to eat with carrot/celery/other vegetable sticks. This week I've made Monumental Black Bean Dip from Eating Bird Food.
I usually make a simple hummus but this week I felt like a change. When I made this I added a half cup of extra black beans because I found it a bit thin. Also straight after making it the flavours were pretty mild, but Nadine took it to work today and said it was really good :) So the flavours must soak in a bit more overnight.
Attractive, isn't it? Hehehe.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Recipe: Vegan Beef and Stout Stew

Stout beer. Mmm delicious. Pity most brands use isinglass in the fining process. Dang. BUT I looked and looked (it was hard, because I'm not too knowledgable on beer brands) and found that Coopers makes a vegan friendly stout beer! (Bonus points for being Aussie owned and made). And thus this stew was born. (Inspired by this recipe from Martha Stewart).
For the beef part I used this stuff. Found it in the freezer in an Asian supermarket. I'm not entirely sure of it's brand. There are words everywhere. I think it's essentially frozen rehydrated TVP chunks, and it pretty much has the same texture as the type of cow you'd buy to slow cook. Except you don't have to break your jaw chewing on it. (Ew.)

Vegan Beef and Stout Stew
Serves 6

3 1/2 cups of beef style pieces, defrosted (or rehydrated beef style TVP slices)
2 tbsp wholemeal flour*
170g tomato paste
500g potatoes, diced in 2cm bits
1 large onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, sliced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
400mL beef style stock (I use massel)
220mL vegan stout beer
2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
Salt and pepper to taste


Saute onion, garlic, carrot, celery and potatoes in some oil or water in a large stock pot for about 5 minutes. Add flour and stir until it starts to brown. Stir in stock, tomato paste and stout beer so no lumps form. It will thicken a bit. You may need to add extra water if it's too thick. I added about an extra cup. (*I used 3 tbsp flour and I think it was too much). Stir in defrosted beef chunks.

Bring to a boil and then turn down and simmer for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add peas. Cook until heated through and sauce has thickened. Taste for seasoning.
I served mine on bowtie pasta because I like pasta with stews. But you could try quinoa, brown rice...anything else really :)

A stew is the ultimate comfort food and this one doesn't disappoint. The gravy is rich and thick and we wanted to eat the whole pot! I reckons the leftovers will make a GREAT pie. So that is what I'm going to do. If the gravy isn't pie-thickness I'll just reheat it on the stove with some cornflour or something, but I don't think it'll need it. Making leftovers into a pie with perhaps a steamed green thing on the side will stretch it out to at least 8 servings I think. Depends how much pie you can eat ;). 

This reminds me a lot of something my mum used to make sometimes, except I remember disliking it immensely. Don't know why. I guess tastes change.

I would definately serve this to family, friends, anybody who enjoyed a good stew. If they didn't see me eating it I'm sure they would all think it was the 'real deal'. If you aren't a fan of fake meat, try using tofu, tempeh, muchrooms, or even a bean. I think mushrooms would be especially delicious (and much more accessible to everyone! I know not all of us live in a city with plentiful asian food marts.)  

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I've finally figured out how to roast potatoes properly.

And the results are pretty damn delicious :)

Cut potatoes relatively small. Preheat oven to 210 degrees. Mix potatoes with about 1 tbsp of oil. Put in oven. Cook for about 45 minutes. Mmmm.
I had to perform that difficult procedure to make the 'White Beans and Lemon Potatoes with Olives and Tomatoes' from Vegan on the Cheap (pg 165). However, I change every recipe I cook from. I used about 3x as many olives, extra potatoes (because there were only a few left in the bag and the rest were squishy), kidney beans instead of white beans (and an extra cup at that), like 8 cloves of garlic left whole instead of 3 crushed, and fresh basil added at the end instead of parsley. Served it on twisty tricolour pasta. It was so delicious. Simplicity at it's best. Not many flavours compliment each other as well as olives and well, anything really.


This was part of the meal plan I wrote for this week. Our budget is a little tight because of moving costs, and me not being able to work for a few days due to flooding (yay rain!) and I find a concrete plan makes things a lot easier to handle. And since I have a pantry, and the shops are a little further away than the top of our driveway, I can buy the whole weeks groceries at once. It helps that our local fruit shop is the cheapest fruit shop I've ever been to. And the produce lasts!

I'll be blogging a little more later about various other things we have been cooking. My camera cord was in a box somewhere so I have quite the backlog of pictures to go through :)